Taliban Says Women Can Study But Classrooms Must Be Segregated
Women in Afghanistan will be allowed to study, but classrooms must be segregated, the Taliban has now said.
Amid fears for people’s lives under the militant group’s rule, the Taliban claimed an ‘amnesty’ had been declared that would allow women to study up to university level, work and even govern. So far, there’s been reports of violence and executions, a ban on women playing sport and images of classrooms separated by curtains.
Abdul Baqi Haqqani, the Taliban’s higher education minister, has confirmed the gender segregation, as well as reinforcing the mandatory Islamic dress code.
While saying the new administration would ‘start building the country on what exists today’ as opposed to resurrecting the group’s 1996-2001 rule, when women were mostly banned from studying or working, Haqqani reiterated women’s separation from men in classrooms.
‘Thanks to God we have a high number of women teachers. We will not face any problems in this. All efforts will be made to find and provide women teachers for female students,’ he told a news conference in Kabul, Reuters reports. ‘We will not allow boys and girls to study together. We will not allow co-education.’
Women will be permitted to study under Sharia law and must wear hijab religious veils, but Haqqani didn’t confirm whether face coverings would be compulsory or headscarves. Gender segregation will be enforced across the country, and all subjects taught in colleges will be reviewed soon.
Taliban guidance also outlines that women must only be taught by women, but ‘when there is really a need, men can also teach them but in accordance with Sharia, they should observe the veil’, the minister said. Teaching may also be conducted through streaming or closed circuit TV to ensure separation.
Heather Barr, co-director of the women’s rights division at Human Rights Watch, warned the policies will allow women ‘continue some of their day-to-day functions, but only under constraints that essentially make them operate in a world that’s almost entirely separate from boys and men’, as per The Guardian.
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